Thursday, November 30, 2006

Book of Lies

My Bible study ladies and I each bought a steno notebook (the kind with lines down the middle of the pages). The plan was to record lies we hear or tell ourselves on one side and corresponding truth from God’s Word on the other. I haven’t written much, but I keep thinking about that notebook. I catch myself saying inwardly, “I can never do enough” or “This is hopeless…” And then I remember a verse like, “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’” 2 Corinthians 12:9 ESV.

Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart. Psalm 51:6 ESV

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Highway to Heaven

I saw this sign on the tip jar at an espresso stand: Tippers go to Heaven. Yes, God cares how we treat others here on earth. Yet ultimately we cannot do enough good deeds to gain entrance into God’s presence. I am reading a book about Heaven by Randy Alcorn. He says, “God loves us enough to tell the truth—there are two eternal destinations, not one, and we must choose the right path if we are to go to Heaven. All roads do not lead to Heaven. Only one does: Jesus Christ. He said, ‘No one comes to the Father except through me’ (John 14:6).”

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, Ephesians 2:8 ESV

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Our Daily Bread

I have two favorite plates on the dining room wall. One is a thrift store find and the other is a family heirloom from my mother-in-law. They both bear flowers and the scripture: Give us this day our daily bread. They are a visual reminder that God provides what we need when we need it. When Scot was in seminary we were given food baskets. My mom came and canned peaches while waiting for our first son’s birth. Today we are given garden surplus, bread, rice, apples, and other goodies. It’s my joy to make apple pies and applesauce cake to share with others.

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. 2 Corinthians 9:8, 10 ESV

Monday, November 27, 2006

A Clean Cut

I don’t want to work harder. I want to work smarter. I need to take time to “sharpen the ax,” as Ecclesiastes 10:10 says. The sharpener is around here somewhere. My current project is sorting layers of paper in the archaeological dig on our desk.

She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Proverbs 31:27 ESV

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Good Riddance

I don’t want a spotless house. I want a home that is inviting, comfortable, easy to maintain, and inspires hospitality and creativity. I need to face my fears about getting rid of stuff:

1. I might need it.
2. Someone might need it.
3. It costs money to replace it.
4. I won’t be able to replace it.
5. I don’t want to feel guilty about spending money on it in the first place.

It’s time to let go.

For everything there is a season,…a time to keep, and a time to cast away. Ecclesiastes 3:1, 6 ESV

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Open Season

It’s open season for Christmas shopping. Sure I scoped out the "Black Friday" ads. A flat screen monitor would be nice but my big boy works just fine. I want to keep my sights on NEEDS versus WANTS. My game plan is, “What can I do with what I have?” And my secret weapon is trusting God to provide in creative ways.

And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19 ESV

Friday, November 24, 2006

Keep on Keeping On

It’s the day after Thanksgiving. My friend is on a shopping jaunt with her sister to Portland for the 25th year in a row. My sister-in-law is stocking up on socks at Freddies (Fred Meyer). The Cousins are bowling. What other traditions do we have? Sue and I have kept the Hello Summer block party going for 8 years. We couldn’t pull off a bbq this year but the ice cream social was a hit with 60 men, women, and children. It’s time for our family to bring back the Happy Birthday Jesus party for neighbor kids.

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9 ESV

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Going Home

I am thankful for memories of dear ones not around the table anymore. My adopted Aunt Hai warmed dinner plates and loved me through college when I was far from home. The indomitable Dorothy came to fold laundry and tell stories when I was in bed full-time with Multiple Sclerosis. My paternal grandparents lived a life of service to God and gave freely of themselves to family. My husband’s maternal grandparents added love and laughter to the family. I miss tea with my great-grandma Mary who showed how to age gracefully and retain a sweet spirit and love for Jesus all 106 years.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1,2

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Pray by Number

How do I pray for my children? Besides the 911 “what’s your emergency?” prayers, I use a bookmark with 31 Biblical Virtues to Pray for Your Kids by Bob Hostetler. Today is the 22nd so I prayed for contentment. “Father, teach my children ‘the secret of being content in any and every situation…through Him who gives [them] strength’” (Philippians 4:12-13). As I pray, I ask God to work in and through me so I will be a good example.

we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding. Colossians 1:9

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Sound Check

One evening our baby monitor picked up a neighbor’s monitor signal. I heard a mom’s gentle voice reading a bedtime story. She asked her husband, “Did you remember to pick up stamps today, honey?” I turned it off and wondered, what would you overhear in my home? One day you would have heard, “Something has to change around here. We need to figure out a way to be on time or early!” And then, “Stop letting the dog lick your face!” Later, “Are your wet shoes in here? I smell something.” I want to fill my home with more than pronouncements. I want to instruct and inspire, exhort and encourage.

Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body. Proverbs 16:24 ESV

Monday, November 20, 2006

And Then Some

When I prayed for a teaching job for my husband, all I wanted was a fully employed, happy husband. He landed a job at our local Christian School and I discovered my niche. I have renewed old friendships, made new ones, and found a place to contribute. I can use my passion for writing and connecting on the new school website. And I have reprised my Bible study leader role in a moms’ weekly Bible study.

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 3:20, 21 ESV

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Sounds of Music

My husband is our designated Music Man. He cranks the cd player almost every morning. Years ago the Veggie Tales® song Stand was our theme before the children left for school. It included the lyrics:

Oh, stand (Stand up, stand up)
For what you believe in, believe in,
Believe in God (He's the one to back you up)
We'll stand with you!
He'll stand with you, oh yeah.

We highly recommend the Seeds of Faith, Courage, and Purpose cds. They are geared for children but get scripture in my heart too. Now that Christmas is near, my husband, has his favorite, Handel’s Young Messiah, playing.

Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise! Psalm 95:2 ESV

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Paper Angel

We like to read the daily newspaper. We bite on special deals and then let the subscriptions expire to save money. A friend said she gets two local papers and would be glad to share them when she’s done. She drives by our house almost every day and leaves neat bundles in the driveway or on the porch. We are blessed to have a friend who cares enough to share.

But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. 1 John 3:17, 18 ESV

Friday, November 17, 2006

Take a Load Off

Have you seen the tv commercial with people dragging bathroom scales everywhere? For years I have said I need to lose weight. A friend told me she was part of an informal group that weighed in every week. I jumped right in. A burden was lifted when I wrote down my starting weight and faced the truth. Since then I have been able to say no to leftover Halloween sweets, cinnamon rolls in Sunday school, and seconds. I have said yes to more fruits and veggies and started walking regularly. To date I have avoided paying the weekly $1 penalty for gaining weight. A little accountability goes a long ways!

to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:22-24 ESV

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Domino Parenting

I said yes to movie plans for my teenage daughter after screening the reviews. But plans changed to include a different movie of questionable content. Sometimes I have to be the bad guy and say no. Later I found out my daughter’s friend was allowed to go because her parents mistakenly thought it was okay with me. I am encouraged to pray for discernment and then stay strong. Don’t cave under pressure.

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. 1 Corinthians 15:58 ESV

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Truth be Told

My truth detector is always on. Just ask my kids how often I point out something on tv, in the newspaper, or in conversation that doesn’t ring true. I have decided to stop correcting every misbelief* that pops up. I want to wait for God’s leading for when to speak up and when to be silent. I pray that I will be sensitive to the deeper issues of the heart.

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver. Proverbs 25:11 ESV

* from Telling Yourself the Truth by William Backus and Marie Chapian

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Not One More Thing

How do you find the balance between multi-tasking--using time and resources well--and system overload? Stop squeezing in “one more thing.” If I have a few minutes to spare and try to fit in one more errand, inevitably I will be late. When waiting to pick up children from school or practice I can listen to Christian radio, read the newspaper or a book if I brought one, take time to plan or pray, or even Sudoku a while.

Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:34 NIV